Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
As a small business owner you obviously want to spend your time focusing on growing your revenue. One way to earn extra time is to eliminate or reduce repetitive tasks. Using marketing automation, you can streamline and measure your marketing effectiveness and workflow with less effort and in many cases, without breaking the bank.
Don’t confuse marketing automation with email marketing or a way to spam your customers. Marketing automation is about tracking prospective buyers and engaging them with personalized and useful content that will ideally convert leads into sales over time.
When you buy a marketing automation tool, “you’re also buying the underlying methodology, process, and toolset that’s going to help you think about your marketing, sales and business development differently,” says David Newman, author of Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition.
While the price point will vary based upon your business’s individual needs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $3,000 per month to incorporate a marketing automation system.
Before getting started, it’s important to do your research to determine which tools will work best for you. Newman, a nationally-acclaimed marketing expert, shares some of his insights on various marketing automation tools that may boost your bottom line.
HubSpot. As a pioneer in marketing automation, HubSpot was created with business owners in mind. “HubSpot is probably the easiest to get into for the least technical business owner. That’s a big pro,” Newman says. Users can tailor and customize the platform to meet their specific needs and goals. The data (i.e. user characteristics and behavior) provided allows you to see what people are responding to, create a profile of those leads and craft customized content which will ultimately help provide the best ROI for your business.
SharpSpring. An up-and-coming challenger in the marketing automation space, SharpSpring, “is everything that you want out of a system like HubSpot for a fraction of the price,” Newman says. Like HubSpot, SharpSpring can integrate with a business’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, but it also has its own unique system. Newman adds that flexibility and stellar customer support makes SharpSpring a great lead nurturing machine.
LeadPages. With no shortage of conversion opportunities, this do-it-yourself lead generation landing page creator cuts out the middleman (think: designers and developers). Whether you’re hosting a landing page or collecting email addresses for list building, “LeadPages is awesome as far as initial lead generation,” Newman says.
Salesforce.com. This may not be the easiest program for newbies to learn, but it’s effective and allows businesses to generate demand and nurture leads. You can also calculate your marketing ROI and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Marketo. Similar to its competitors, Marketo attracts customers through relevant content, engages them over time and measures the impact giving business owners the tools to generate more revenue. Marketo also provides marketing management allowing businesses to plan, coordinate, and communicate marketing budgets and calendars without using spreadsheets. No matter which platform you choose, Newman has this advice for business owners: Crawl before you walk, do your research and choose the software that best fits your business needs. No matter which platform you use, the key is giving potential customers the content that will eventually inspire a sale. “Offer value, incite engagement,” Newman says.
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